If you’re considering a divorce as a stay-at-home mom, you might be apprehensive, but you deserve to find peace.
The Gentry Law Firm, LLC, is ready to help you find your best path forward. Our divorce lawyers for stay-at-home moms can answer your questions about life after divorce and how to navigate divorce in a way that puts the wellbeing of your family first.
Understanding the Term “Stay-at-Home Mom” in Georgia Divorce Cases
Stay-at-home moms tend to wear many hats, from caring for the children to cleaning the house to managing schedules and activities. Some SAHMs even take over teaching roles as homeschoolers.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s important to note that these contributions to a household have value – to your marriage and in your divorce. An experienced divorce attorney will include your contributions to the household and emphasize your worth to get a fair settlement for you.
Grounds for Divorce for Stay-At-Home Moms
If you’re getting a divorce, your lawyer will provide the Court with the “grounds” or reason for your divorce. Georgia allows no-fault divorces for marriages that couples believe are “irretrievably broken.”
Fault-based divorce can be pursued for reasons like domestic violence, adultery, or habitual intoxication.
A Stay-at-Home Mom’s Divorce Checklist
Once you have decided to pursue a divorce, there are key steps you can take to help make the divorce process easier.
One of the first steps you have to take before filing for divorce is securing as much information about your finances as possible. That means getting bank account statements, bills, an inventory of valuables and assets, insurance policies, retirement accounts, tax returns, and more.
Your financial situation is going to be different during and after your divorce. Because you’ve been staying at home, you may be going into a job market that’s unfamiliar. Your financial information will guide the judge’s decision about temporary spousal support during the divorce proceedings, and it will also impact decisions made in the final decree. Your stay-at-home mom divorce lawyer needs as much information as possible to make sure you’re getting the support you need after the divorce is completed.
What Issues Are Decided in a Divorce Settlement?
Besides ending a marriage, a divorce decree will decide several issues. Each case is unique, but your attorney can explain why these issues matter and how they’re decided.
- Child Custody: In Georgia, decisions involving children are made based on the child’s best interests. As a stay-at-home mother, you were likely your children’s primary caregiver. It’s likely that a judge will award you primary custody, but there isn’t a guarantee that will happen. Your divorce lawyer for stay-at-home moms can evaluate your chances and help you secure custody.
- Child Support: Georgia law calculates child support by examining the household’s combined gross income and other variables. As a stay-at-home mom, you may contribute less to the household’s income, so it’s very likely (again, not guaranteed) that you’ll receive monthly child support payments. And if you’re awarded custody, the non-custodial parent will be making payments for their share of childcare.
- Division of Property: Georgia exercises equitable distribution of marital property. That means assets that were purchased or or appreciated value during the marriage will be divided fairly between the divorcing spouses. That isn’t a 50-50 split, but rather a fair split of all your combined assets and debts, based on many different factors during your marriage. If you supported your partner while they started or expanded a business, you will likely receive some percentage of that business or the equivalent value in other assets.
- Spousal Support: Also called alimony, spousal support does not apply to every case, but as a stay-at-home mom, you likely have a stronger claim. Alimony is designed to support a partner in an uneven financial partnership. As a homemaker, you may not have a reliable source of income. Your spouse could be ordered to make payments during divorce proceedings, after the divorce decree is settled or even permanently. Your attorney can help you review your options.
What Is The Divorce Process For Stay-At-Home Moms?
There is no simple answer for how long a divorce will take. Each case is unique, but there are steps that everyone seeking a divorce must take.
The grounds for a divorce, the contentiousness of your spouse, and the issues decided in a divorce decree can all impact the length of your divorce process.
When you work with an attorney, they can ensure you stay on track to keep the process from dragging and advocate for your and your children’s needs. Steps of the divorce process include:
- Filing your divorce complaint: you’ll complete a form and file with the superior court of the county where your spouse lives. This complaint indicates why you’re filing for divorce and the outcome you’re seeking on matters of support or custody.
- Responding to the Complaint: your partner will have a chance to respond to your complaint. They can agree the marriage is broken and agree to the terms of your complaint for an uncontested divorce. If they disagree with the complaint, they can file a counterclaim and you’ll need to negotiate terms or take the matter to court.
- Pre-trial Negotiations: each side will be permitted to view the other’s evidence in a discovery phase. You and your soon-to-be ex can work with your attorneys to try and negotiate your divorce before it needs to go before a judge for a trial. Georgia requires mediation before a divorce can go to court, and you may be able to reach an agreement.
- Going to Court: if you cannot reach an agreement with your partner, you’ll take your divorce to a judge for a trial. Like other trials, each party will present evidence and arguments representing their side and prospective outcomes. A qualified attorney will know how to make your case solid and present it in a way to protect your claims.
- After the Divorce: The judge will issue a divorce decree based on their understanding of the most equitable solution for everyone involved, including your children. Your attorney can help you understand the outcome to your case and help ensure the judge’s ruling is enforced afterwards.
How Long Do Divorces Take For Stay-At-Home Moms?
Divorces vary in length. Uncontested divorces can take as little as 31 days, but a contested divorce can last months or years. Having evidence to support your complaint can help you expedite the process, but it won’t be instantaneous. Working with a qualified attorney can improve your chances at getting the best possible outcome.
Will I Automatically Be Awarded Custody If I Am A Stay-At-Home?
Custody is not guaranteed in a stay-at-home mom’s divorce. The judge will be examining the best interests of the children. If they feel you are not the best fit for the custodial parent, they’ll award primary custody to your partner. Working with an attorney can help you secure the parenting plan you want.
Who Will Get the House in a Divorce with a Stay-At-Home Mom?
There isn’t an easy answer to this question. It depends on several factors, including who wants the house, is it equitable to keep it or sell it, and more. If you aren’t planning on moving in order to keep the children in an environment they know, you may be awarded the house in exchange for equitable assets. You’ll also need to consider if you can afford the house. Discuss it with your attorney.
Why Should I Call a Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce is a complicated process. There are so many variables to consider. Even if you’re working through an uncontested divorce, there are many aspects you need to remember that could be overlooked, or that your ex may try to take advantage of.
An experienced divorce lawyer for women will understand how stressful and daunting the divorce process can be, especially for a stay-at-home mother about to enter unknown territory. An attorney can explain all options available and direct you to the best path forward.
Call a Divorce Attorney For Stay-At-Home Moms Today
Divorces are challenging, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You should find a stay-at-home mom divorce lawyer who empathizes with your situation and wants what’s best for you.
The Gentry Law Firm, LLC, was established to help women like you. We’ve helped countless clients find a solution that suits them and helps them end a marriage that no longer works. Founding Attorney William C. Gentry has made it his mission to help families meet their futures with innovative and trusted solutions.